Case Study:

CableArm

Founded in Ray Bergeron’s garage, CableArm is a specialist manufacturer of dredging equipment, located in Trenton, Michigan.A cross between a cowboy and an entrepreneur, Ray’s ambition is the size of the rolling plains. He is always thinking 2 steps ahead and he has to, the dredging and excavating business has some big competitors. To be the best, you need to perform, be reliable and competitive on price. To help accomplish this Ray and CableArm looked to Everight Position to help them with position sensors.

Like many entrepreneurs in the product design phase, CableArm knew what they wanted but not quite how to achieve it. They discovered the potential for ‘precision’ dredging, especially in environmental remediation projects where the objective was to remove contaminated materials from a lakebed, river bottom etc, and sought to create a product that specifically addressed challenges in this market. Their premier product is a clamshell – a device designed to scoop soil from the bottom of a body of water. Cable Arm’s unique clamshell design allows the operator to dig up a nearly constant thickness layer of soil with each scoop. The objective hereis usually to remove a layer of contaminated sediment from the bottom of the water body. Cable Arm clamshells, with Level-Cut® technology allow operators to do this efficiently, with minimal spilling of contaminated material back onto the soil surface. A combination of hardware, sensors, and software was needed to support the new product. Everight Position was engaged for the position sensors.

Challenges:

Durable enough to mount on an excavator, but also function deep under water, The Cable Arm clamshell is digging through mud that is loaded with debris. From a sensor standpoint we needed to account for debris bouncing off the shovel while accurately recording  vibration. Accuracy and calibration for industrial use is essential. We also wanted to provide an option that allowed for single axis  measured tilt and leveling.

Some of the factors we considered when deciding on the best solution for the product are:

  • Required several position sensors to provide feedback on equipment location and orientation.
  • Both rotary encoders & inclinometers
  • Must be extremely durable and able to withstand harsh conditions
  • Have to be not just waterproof, but also account for severe water pressure
  • Single and dual-axis models
  • CANopen communications interface, with daisy-chaining capability
  • Offer competitive pricing

Solution:

CableArm just switched from POSITAL’s ACS inclinometers to their new line of AKS inclinometers. These sensors have built in vibration filtering, allowing for a smooth accurate level reading even in an application with significant vibration. Accomplished by adding a gyroscope to the existing MEMS tilt sensor, the POSITAL AKS inclinometer provides CableArm with new opportunities to improve accuracy and performance.

Results:

Our primary goal was to understand what they needed and educate them enough to properly integrate the technology correctly. Additionally, we worked with our vendors to drive down costs by identifying optimal quantities for purchase. “Applications are the exciting thing for us. Working with people understanding what it is they are trying to accomplish and then providing them the tools/sensors they need to do it.” Jarrod O., EverRight Position

As a small manufacturer competing with giant companies, we have consistently helped them stay on top of new technology.  As new sensor technology has been released, we’ve brought that to their attention and kept them on the cutting edge of their industry.